Duterte raises monthly 'ayuda' to P500, says P200 'too small'

President Duterte said he already ordered the Department of Finance (DOF) to increase the amount of monthly subsidy for poor families from P200 to P500 per household in lieu of suspending excise tax amid rising oil prices.

President Rodrigo Duterte (Malacañang photo)

During his speech in Malacañang on Monday, March 21, Duterte said the P200 cash aid proposed by the DOF which he earlier approved to cushion the effects of increasing fuel costs on poor families is "too small" and "cannot sustain" even a family of three.

"That is too small for one month. Kaya sabi ko talaga sa kanya, humanap ka ng pera... kasi masyadong mababa iyan (That's why I told him to look for additional budget because that is too small)," Duterte said referring to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

"It cannot sustain a family of three, even four, five. Yung may pinakamaraming anak (those who have many children), they are the productive Filipinos for tomorrow," he added.

Duterte shared that while Dominguez agreed to the P500 assistance, the DOF chief also bared that the government might have a problem with the budget after six months.

The President answered in jest that it is not a problem of their administration anymore.

"Sabi ko sa kanya kanina, 'Buang, wala na tayo d'yan. Bahala na sila. Ang i-solve natin 'yung ngayon... ubusin na natin ang pera, ibigay mo (I told him, 'Crazy, that's already their problem. Let's just solve the present problem. Spend the money, give it to the people)," he said.

"Sabi ko sa kanya bahala na ang presidente niyan kung saan siya magnakaw. Basta ibigay natin yung P500 (I told him it's up to the next president where he would steal the money. We will give the P500 to the people)," he joked.

Duterte likewise reminded those who will benefit from the financial aid to only use it on expenses that are needed, and not on gambling, particularly online sabong.

"I hope that this (P500) would go a long way, really, to help. 'Wag lang sayangin sa e-sabong (Just don't waste it on e-sabong)," he said.